Custom 5e Character Sheet

It could just be that I’m a compulsive note taker, but whenever I play longer campaigns of a game, I tend to find the official character sheets to be lacking in various ways. Not enough room for backstory, insufficient room for a full inventory listing, no space for writing about the other party members, or about my character’s goals and so on. To be fair, in many cases, I find myself wanting somewhere to write down things that there aren’t even really rules for, so I can’t really blame anyone but myself for that. But in the end, those things nonetheless contribute to my enjoyment of the game.

Until now, I’ve mostly used either notebooks or note-taking apps for this, which is… acceptable, but not ideal. For one thing, I want to minimize the use of digital tools at the table, and for another, there’s something really appealing to me in having a specific sheet with a specific box to fill in the information I want to record.

A couple of years ago, when I was in an Earthdawn campaign, I made a custom sheet specific to my character, and I used a fairly advanced Google spreadsheet to keep track of my decker abilities in a Shadowrun campaign, but for D&D I thought I’d make a more general one that I could share.

Now, when it comes to D&D, I think the official sheets are ok. They’re fine honestly. Probably great for most players. I’ve used them before, but there’s just not enough room for the things I care about, especially for campaign play.

Some custom-made D&D sheets get a lot better. I’ve used some class-specific sheets in the past with moderate success, but even with the best of them, I always missed something, compared to the ideal sheet that existed in my mind. Looking at the plethora of custom sheets that are out there, it’s clear that everyone has their own play style, and thus their own version of the perfect sheet. And while illustrated and hand-drawn sheets can be quite beautiful, I find myself preferring ones that take a cleaner and more simple approach. I also don’t mind quite small fonts. And while beginner-friendly sheets are great for, well, beginners, they’re not what I need. So not too much hand-holding, either.

So, what to do but get started on making my own?

The basics sheet, as it appears in InDesign

I’ve used some version of these sheets for about eight or nine months at this point, playing a multiclassed Arcane Trickster/Hexblade, and they’ve worked great for me. They have not been tested for any other classes however, so I’ll happily accept suggestions for improvements.

Oh, and shoutout to the creator of this handsome sheet whose font choice I was inspired by shamelessly copied.

The following files are version 1.0 of the sheets.

Regarding sheet 3: For class features and spellcasting, I found it most convenient to split apart the different variations of these pages into separate single-page files rather than try to create double-page bundles for every possible combination.

If you find these useful please let me know! Or for that matter, if you have ideas about things that aren’t on the sheets but should be, please drop me a line, and maybe it’ll be in the next version.

Possible Changes and Improvements

  • If there’s enough interest, a US letter sized version
  • Make pdfs fillable
  • Layered pdfs to make the sheets more modular. (E.g. hide spell slots, concentration, Waterdeep currency, etc.)
  • A more useful magic items box on the inventory sheet

Possible Future Sheets

  • A Biography/History sheet to log character accomplishments that happen in-game. Heroic deeds, enemies slain, legends forged, treasures found, ancient mysteries solved, items crafted, epic poems composed etc.
  • Reference sheet for combat (actions, reactions, conditions, cover, mounted combat, concentration, hiding, item interactions, healing potions)
  • Reference sheet for gear
  • Reference sheet for miscellaneous information: light sources and vision, Forgotten Realms calendar, etc.
  • A downtime sheet. Keep record of downtime activities like training, crafting, etc.
  • Name plate to use at the table (Character name, player name, pronouns (for player and character), maybe portrait, race and class)
  • Wild Shape sheet
  • Magic item sheet (details, bonuses, abilities, recharge conditions, attunement, how it was found, its history, etc)
  • NPC tracker for players with useful information (name, description, faction, relationship, leads, goals, first appearance, later appearances, interactions, which case/quest they’re involved in)

DM Sheets

  • Session 0 sheet. Themes, setting, lines and veils, game focus, etc.
  • Campaign Planning. Fronts and clocks mostly, I suppose. Major factions and powers.
  • Session Planning. Themes, foreshadowing, locations, npcs, etc.
  • Encounter Planning (Location, Initiative, Enemies and Allies: Name, AC, HP, status, notes; Loot, Strategies, Notes)
  • NPCs (Stats + Roleplaying notes (goals, mannerisms, accent, etc.))
  • Organization/Faction sheet? Name, Alignment, Size, Power, Symbol, Sources of Income, History, Ranks, Goals, etc
  • Location sheet (for prepping cities, villages, etc. Notable features, necessary NPCs, some areas of interest, etc.) Different sheets for different size areas? Region, city, town, village, etc.
  • Adventure Location sheet. For dungeons. More specialized version of above.
  • Party reference. Party members’ relevant stats, marching order
  • Session log: synopsis, loot notes, developments, thoughts, stars, wishes, lessons learned, notes to self, ideas from players

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